Bill short on giving responsibility to panchayats, says Aiyar
press trust of india
New Delhi, 2 September
The much-touted Food Security Bill was taken up in the Rajya Sabha, with the Opposition terming it as a “gimmick” with an eye on elections and accusing the government of violating Constitutional norms by issuing an ordinance when Parliament session was less than a month away.
While supporting the Food Security Bill, Leader of the Opposition, Mr Arun Jaitley said it was a “repackaging” of various existing schemes like the PDS, the mid-day meal and the ICDS and that there was nothing new in it.
Speaking on a statutory resolution for disapproval of the Food Security Ordinance, Mr Jaitley who was joined by the CPI-M, the CPI and the AIADMK in moving it, said it was issued in a hurry and less than a month of beginning of Parliament session. “An Ordinance is brought if there is a matter of utmost urgency and it can’t await the Session of Parliament ~ What would have happened in 30 days that we couldn’t wait. The Constitution does not allow so ~ It is a misuse of your right to issue an Ordinance,” Mr Jaitley said.
Questioning the hurry in issuing the Food Ordinance, he said, “At best, it could be aimed at reaping political benefits.”
Terming it as a “repackaging” of existing food schemes, Mr Jaitley said the total amount of subsidy provided under various food schemes like the PDS, the ICDS and the Mid-Day meal scheme is Rs 1,24,844 crore and that provided in Food Security Bill is Rs 1,25,000 crore. His party colleague, Mr Venakaiah Naidu said the Bill is a “gimmick” by the government as elections are a few months away and actually there will be no benefit for the people.
Mani Shankar Aiyar (Cong) expressed dissatisfaction that the bill has not given more responsibility to panchayats and municipalities. Pyarimohan Mohapatra (BJD) supported Aiyar on the role of panchayats. Ram Vilas Paswan (LJP) also spoke in favour of the Bill.